President Joe Biden has confirmed that he will not issue an apology on behalf of the United States for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima during World War II.
The White House announced this as Biden arrived in Hiroshima on May 18 for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit.
He is the second sitting U.S. president, following Barack Obama, to visit the western Japanese city.
Biden’s wreath laying in Hiroshima, a sign of ‘respect’ for history
National security adviser Jake Sullivan addressed the issue of an apology, stating that President Biden would not be making a statement at the Peace Memorial Park.
Instead, he would participate in a wreath-laying ceremony alongside the G-7 leaders and other events.
Sullivan emphasized that Biden’s visit was not intended as a bilateral moment but rather as a sign of respect for history and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who hails from Hiroshima.
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G-7 leaders visit Peace Memorial Park
During the summit, Biden and the other G-7 leaders visited the Peace Memorial Park, where they met with survivors of the atomic bomb that devastated the city 78 years ago.
In August 1945, a U.S. B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, resulting in an estimated 80,000 immediate deaths and tens of thousands of additional lives lost due to radioactive exposure.
Three days later, a second atomic bomb was detonated over Nagasaki, claiming an estimated 40,000 lives.
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President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima
It is worth noting that the U.S. government has never formally apologized for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
President Obama made history in 2016 as the first sitting U.S. president since 1945 to visit Hiroshima.
Obama toured the memorial park alongside then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his visit.
In his speech, he acknowledged the importance of preserving the memory of the bombings and called for a world without nuclear weapons.
A-Bomb Dome, the unbroken witness
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, also known as the A-Bomb Dome, stands as a powerful symbol in the area where the atomic bomb was detonated.
The structure, built in 1914 as an exhibition hall, miraculously survived the blast.
It serves as a poignant reminder of the devastating consequences of nuclear warfare.
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G-7 Hiroshima Summit shines light on nuclear disarmament
Prime Minister Kishida deliberately chose Hiroshima for this year’s G-7 summit to underscore the need for nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
The summit aims to shed light on Hiroshima’s tragic history and send a strong message to the international community, particularly concerning the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Christopher Johnstone, senior adviser and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explained that Kishida, being from Hiroshima, profoundly believes in the disarmament agenda and views the G-7 meeting as an opportunity to demonstrate leadership, especially given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and increasing Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.
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President Biden declines to issue an apology
In conclusion, President Biden has declined to issue an apology for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima, and his visit to the city during the G-7 summit serves as a gesture of respect and remembrance rather than a bilateral moment.
The summit aims to draw attention to the tragic history of Hiroshima and emphasize the importance of nuclear disarmament globally.
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